Having played Warhammer 40,000 for a lot of years, the industrial moonscape of the mining operations around Flin Flon was eerily familiar, but as soon as you are south of the town you enter a network of beautiful lakes and curvy roads. Unfortunately, everyone else in the Flex nodded off, so I was unable to snap any pictures from behind the wheel; perhaps on the way back.
Just outside Thompson, we followed my Uncle Wendell into the Paint Lake campground, and he and Lona made us a delicious lunch so we wouldn't be starving when we boarded the train. He also arranged to let us park at the bus depot instead of the train station, since it is a little more secure.
Once the train turned to the north, the ride became noticeably less smooth due to the unsettled mature of the tundra and muskeg we were driving, and instances of fairly pronounced rocking became frequent. Once I'd wedged myself into a somewhat comfortable sleeping position (Protip: Don't wear shorts on the train, as part of the footrest is vinyl, and your calves end up sticking to it a bit...), the rocking was actually a comfort, and helped send me off to Nod. Who needs a sleeping berth for +$300 a night?
The Churchill train station is also a Parks Canada heritage building with some exhibits inside. The town itself (pop. 815) is low and long, a mix of tourism and industry. Overcast skies and a crisp wind made us glad we had left our jackets unpacked. Parker met us on the platform as we sorted our luggage out, and said, "you are going to get a taste of real Churchill weather; they are calling for 50-70 km/h winds today, soon boats are going out, and it will be grey and cool most of the week."
"That's fine with me," I replied. "I brought a great rain coat, and it isn't like I came here to tan."